Uranium contained in bulk Carnotite and associated Uranium ores can be
easily extracted to form various Uranium compounds.
Use a hammer or rock crusher
to smash the rock into a granular form.
Wear proper safety equipment (gloves, dust mask, eye protection) when
breaking the rock so you don't get rock fragments in your eye, or inhale
piles of ore dust.
Sift the crushed rock through a screen (a window screen or a spaghetti
strainer will do).
This will separate the large chunks from the fine, granular material.
Weigh out 300 grams of the
fine granular ore.
Pour the 300 grams of fine
ore into the barrel of your Ball
A hard milling media is required, such as steel balls which are used
Place the barrel on the mill
and let it run for approximately 2 hours.
This will reduce the ore into a very fine dust.
This is necessary so the extraction chemicals will be able to react with
the ore material.
If Ball Milling is not done, very little Uranium will be extracted.
After 2 hours of milling,
the ore is as fine as Talcum powder.
Separate the steel balls
from the powdered ore by using either a magnet to pull out the balls,
or dumping the barrel contents through a strainer.
Certain types of Uranium ore
(Pitchblende, Uraninite) can be simply extracted with Nitric Acid.
However, Carnotite and its associated matrix minerals are far too
alkaline for Acid extraction and many of the minor Uranium ores will not
dissolve in acid. Alkaline extraction is called for when dealing with
To begin, you'll need 200 grams of powdered Uranium ore, 50 grams of
25 grams of Sodium Bicarbonate (use Arm & Hammer Baking Soda) and
1000 ml of water.
Place a large flask with the 1000 ml of water in it on a magnetic
drop in a spinbar and heat to about 70-80ÑŒÐ·â•• C.
Set the stir speed to maximum and slowly add each ingredient into the
water while it is being stirred & heated. Let the mixture heat &
The next day, turn off the
hot plate/stirrer and set the flask aside to cool and settle for 1 hour.
After an hour, the heavy sediment will sink to the bottom leaving the
cloudy extracted Uranium in a carbonate solution floating on top.
Pour the cloudy Uranium
solution through a fine filter being careful not to let the bottom
sediment to stir up or get into the filter.
The finished product will be
a bright, clear yellow liquid: Uranyl Tricarbonate.
our next experiment, we'll use Kerosene and the Solvent Extraction
method to remove the carbonate from the Uranium.